Waiting: Friday Flash Fiction Story

Baby by Randy Cockrell

Baby by Randy Cockrell

I watched the seconds pass on my digital watch, counting the passing of my life. My hands trembled, my mother’s tremors now part of my existence. Better than my brother, though, who developed his tremors in his thirty’s. Mine at least waited until I reached my sixties, when it wasn’t a strange sight to see an old woman’s hands shake.

The nurses scurried through the halls along with the occasional harassed-looking doctor. It occurred to me that a harried-looking doctor didn’t project much confidence. Was harried the step before panic? I didn’t know the precise hierarchy of that sort of thing was. And why were they harried? Were people sicker than they’d anticipated? My mouth went dry. Where was our doctor? I checked the watch again—it continued to count the seconds of my life, my future racing up to me then whooshing by, gone, history.

I drew a deep breath and sighed. A lot of history—much of it faded in my mind. Not dementia or Alzheimer’s, thank God. Just distance. I never was much for dwelling on the past. I tend to live in the present or the future. But to be honest, in my sixties, there wasn’t a lot of future left, given the current standard women’s lifespan. My heart leapt when a doctor stopped outside the door. I waited, breath held, but he checked his watch and moved off. Ne news for me yet, then. I went back to breathing. What was taking so long?

It was November and my mind drifted to Thanksgiving. It was at my house this year, my brother and his wife, my sister, all their kids. Mom was gone two years. I’ll make her recipe for rice pudding, a family favorite and she’ll be present in our hearts.

Another doctor paused outside the door, a nurse walked up to him. I couldn’t hear what was being said, the waiting room TV was blasting a soap opera. I was surprised. I didn’t know any were still running. The nurse nodded and left. The doctor, too, in the opposite direction. I sank back into my seat. My own anxiety level rising.

I dropped the year-old magazine I was holding onto the side table. I wasn’t reading it—I might as well let someone else pick it up to hold.

The air conditioning kicked on and I pulled my sweater closer around me. Why is the A/C on in November? I gave the vent a glare and considered moving my seat but a look around revealed everyone else was as annoyed as I was. So when I heard my name called out, I jumped. “Yes!” I hurried to the nurse in the door.

“Mrs. Johns?”

I tucked my purse under my arm. “That’s me.”

“Your daughter, Jessica, is fine. You have a new grandson.” She smiled at me, the corners of her blue eyes crinkling. “Nine pounds, six ounces. He’s healthy as can be.”

My knees quivered with relief. “Can I see her?”

“Right this way, Mrs. Johns.”

I followed her—already planning the baby’s first Thanksgiving.

 

Thank You for Reading!

513 Words

 

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Happy Thanksgiving and NaNo Week 3: Monday Blog Post

happy-thanksgiving-2016

Newest News:

If I don’t get to it this week, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I don’t have any family nearby except my brother-in-law. Usually we go to a local friend’s house but this year they are feeling under par so I invited them, and the brother-in-law here. I’m excited. I haven’t made Thanksgiving dinner in about four years. Time to get back in the saddle! I’m making the cranberry sauce we always had when I was growing up and my friends are bringing their go-to sweet potato casserole. We’ll all feel right at home. What is your must have dish for Thanksgiving?

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

This is the end of week three of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. As of the end of the day, Sunday, I have over 45k written. My fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested, is done and my already started short story, a space opera, Jania, Princess of Tania, is also done. Sunday I began work on a short story I started in October and never finished that’s currently titled, Granny. That’s kind of a supernatural. It was intended for Halloween but I didn’t get it done. No matter. It’ll be ready for 2017. So, only 5K to write to win the NaNo challenge. I’ve been posting pretty much daily over on Imzy.com/conniesrandomthoughts. For example, yesterday I posted a snippet of the Granny story and a recipe for snickerdoodles. Check it out!

 

Giveaways:

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Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway has started. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

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I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. The event runs December 3rd and 4th. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett, and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. And also, to our very dear friend Stacy Whitemire who passed away recently. She will be greatly missed. Find some new to you authors today and do a good deed for charity. Come join our extravaganza. Lots of authors will be on the event page sharing books, contests and fun. A couple of contests have already started. You could win a prize, or two! https://www.facebook.com/events/364089737264705/ Click on the Discussion tab.

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Then later in December, on the 17th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

 

Shout Out:

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I’ve just begun reading the book, Hild, by Nicola Griffith. https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-Griffith/e/B000APEZ4W. The historical fiction follows Hild, from the time she’s three years old, in ancient Britain. The story is compelling and the writing is lush. I just want to roll around in the words, they’re so rich. Check it out and her other books as well. I think you’ll enjoy them.

 

Garden News:

The Meyer Lemon tree, the bay leaf tree and the jade plant have been moved inside for the winter. That’s it for gardening news until spring.

 

Where Will I Be?

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. I’ve been posting daily updates on my NaNo progress there including snippets and random pictures. Enjoy.

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Newest Book Release:

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Troubled Streets released on October 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Never Again

Food Bar by Connie Cockrell

Food Bar by Connie Cockrell

Fergus Boylan woke and checked the readout in front of him. A groan escaped his lips. It was day 13 of his forced confinement. All systems indicators read nominal in the life pod but there was still no ship within reach–yet.

He rose and in the tiny personal unit took care of his bodily needs and washed his face and hands. In the two square meter area in the center of the pod he did the recommended exercises to keep up his strength. Not normally an exercise fanatic, he did them because there simply wasn’t much else to occupy his time. Wiping down after the exercises took another ten minutes.

Fergus sat in the chair in front of the food dispenser and sighed. This was the worst part of the day for a young man who looked forward to meal time. His stomach growled so he pushed the button. The dispenser spat out a food bar. Textured yeast protein–that’s what the manual said it was. Gray and without scent, it was the least appetizing food possible. It tasted worse. Fergus took a bite and wondered how the bar could be both crumbly and hard to chew at the same time. He punched the button on the dispenser and a water bulb rolled out of the opening. He admired the packaging as he pushed the spot on the bulb that caused a short straw to emerge. The entire bulb was made of hydrogen and oxygen, the same as the water it held, but solid.

He sipped to wash the food bar down. Too bad the engineers couldn’t come up with a tastier food bar, he groused to himself. The food was so awful he’d stopped eating three times a day. It wasn’t worth it. Already his ship suit was looser.

As he chewed he studied the screens in front of him. After all this time in the life pod, after the skeletal space station he was apprentice project manager on, exploded, he’d read the entire pod manual from cover to cover, twice. Because he’d stopped eating the mid-day meal, he saw that he had extended his food reserves by two weeks. He didn’t think he could eat those textured yeast protein bars for another two weeks. Matter of fact, he didn’t think he could face another one today. He checked the long range scans. Please let there be a ship out there. But it wasn’t so. He turned off that screen and brought up a picture of a sea shore and turned up the sound of waves washing up on the beach. He pulled up the manual and began to study the pod’s structure. It was something to do.

Two days later he started out of bed at an alarm. Tangled in the blanket, he rolled out of the bed and staggered to the console. Was the ship on fire? Had a meteor hit the pod? He clicked through the screens in rapid succession. No, no, no, the ship was fine. Then he clicked on the long range scan. There was a ship! Oh hallelujah, a ship! He checked his distress signal. It was broadcasting properly, they were just far away.

Fergus clicked the link to transmit. “Hello, unidentified ship, this is the life pod Argosy. Fergus Boylan requesting rescue.”

He waited, fingers drumming on the console top. “Ship, this is the life pod Argosy, requesting assistance.” He chewed his lower lip. After fifteen days in the pod alone, he was ready to talk to anyone. Fergus pushed the dispenser button for water and drank the entire bulb. When he crumpled up the empty, it evaporated into the air to be recycled in the pod’s system.

Static came over the speakers, then faint and full of static, “Argosy, this is the freighter, Star Chaser. We are coming to fetch you. Stand by.”

Fergus whooped and danced around the tiny pod. Back at the console he transmitted again. “Star Chaser this is Argosy. Standing by.” If he never saw a textured yeast protein bar again it would be too soon.

He paced around the pod. There wasn’t anything to pack—he’d raced to the pod ahead of the fire with nothing but the ship suit on his back. It took five hours for the Star Chaser to bring the life pod on board. As soon as the hatch opened, Fergus hugged the young crewman outside the door. “Do you have something to eat? I’m starving.”

 

The End

730 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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NaNo Break: Monday Blog Post

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Since my last Monday blog post, it’s been crazy. I managed to get a few words written this week but for the most part, the week, at least concerning NaNo, has been a loss. I’ve only written two days out of the seven. Since today is the 23rd, that means I have only seven days left to get to 50,000 words. On Saturday I had 35.3k finished. That means I need over 2k per day to finish NaNo. I think I can do it. The rest of my month, except for Thanksgiving Day, is appointment free.

I attended for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. I’m so glad I went. We’ve not attended, by we, I mean the fair board in general, this conference in years. It was way past time to do so. Several nearby fair managers, have all volunteered to help us out. It was so nice to be among such passionate people. I learned a lot about fairs, entertainment, management and organizational skills specific to fairs. I can’t wait to share it all with the rest of my board.

I taught a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. What a wonderful group of writers. Everyone, no matter their skill level or time as a writer, had excellent points to offer on the topic. I think we all learned a lot! I know I did. I enjoyed meeting a whole new group of writers. They all have such unique points of view. I can’t wait to read more of their work.

I’m compiling a new feature on the site, author interviews. I don’t know about you but as a reader, I’m always on the lookout for authors new to me to read. I think I’ll start the new feature in January. Perhaps one article every other week to start. If you like the feature, please be sure to comment. I have to assume that no comments means that you’re not interested and I’ll drop the feature after a time. So, be sure to let me know what you think of the posts!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I finished getting all of my books but my first (The Bad Seed) up on Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving full of family and friend love and good food.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Thanks

Rugged terrain by Connie Cockrell

Rugged terrain by Connie Cockrell

Elsa leaned for a moment against the tree trunk. The rough bark scratched her arm where her sleeve had been torn. She didn’t care. She had so many scratches, bruises, burns, and she was pretty sure broken ribs, that one more didn’t matter.

The urge to slide down the trunk and sit was overwhelming. Three days it’d been since the crash. At least she thought it was three days. Things were getting fuzzy. Her last drink of water was two days ago and her tongue seemed permanently stuck to the roof of her mouth. Elsa supposed she should be grateful. As the only one to climb out of the plane wreckage alive, she was grateful; at least she was three days ago. Now she wondered about God’s sense of humor.

The burn on her back was about the only thing keeping her warm and the sun was setting again. She thought hard. It was day three, wasn’t it? Elsa shook her head in an effort to clear her mind but that was a waste of calories.

I should have stayed at the wreckage, she thought. It was sending a lot of smoke into the air. Someone would have seen it. And when we were late, someone would have come looking. Justin filed a flight plan. Tears leaked from her eyes at the thought of her co-workers, Justin, Samantha and Harry lost in the fire. She’d come to, coughing on the smoke, the small plane upside down. Releasing her seat belt she’d fallen on Justin’s seat back. That caused the cracked ribs. The scratches were from trying to get out of the plane over Justin’s body. Sam and Harry, well, Sam, beside her, had a smashed forehead. Harry, she couldn’t tell in her rush to escape. None of them moved.

It was a miracle she got out. Justin’s door was jammed. She didn’t want to think about how she’d had to sit in his lap to kick the door. Elsa shoved the thought out of her mind and began her stagger down the mountain. Go downhill she remembered from the survival shows on TV. She’s never thought she’d need that information. The burn on her back hurt. She received that as she ran from the plane. It wasn’t far or fast enough. The thing blew up and a piece of the fuselage hit her in the back, knocking her over and setting her shirt on fire. She rolled in the dirt as she’d been taught but the problem remained. By day the flies bit the burn, making the misery even worse.

If I could just find some water. She was so tired and thirsty she didn’t even care about her stomach. It had stopped growling yesterday. One thing off of her mind at any rate. Elsa watched as the sun dropped behind the trees. There was a last moment of beauty as the rays shot through the pine boughs creating a cathedral effect.

Get moving, she told herself. Find a clearing. Maybe a plane or helicopter will come by. She’d been hearing planes and helicopters for the last two days but none had come in her direction. Elsa made her tired feet move. They hurt. Actually they hurt all the way to her hips. She stumbled over a root and landed on her hands and knees, the root digging into her ankle. Sure, God, pile it on. Getting to her feet again was an effort. One Elsa wasn’t sure she wanted to make any longer.

Okay, she bargained with herself. Keep going downhill till it’s dark, then you can sleep. Elsa stumbled down the hill, ricocheting from tree to tree. When it was dark, she sank down next to another trunk. It was smooth so it might have been an aspen. All she cared about was that it not scratch her.

The night was spent curled up in a ball shivering. It was cold, sure, but she knew she had a temperature. The wounds were getting to her. Infection, probably. Elsa sighed as she woke to the sun rising through the trees. It wouldn’t matter. She’d be dead today from dehydration. She used the tree trunk to stand up. Her guess last night was right, it was an aspen.

Struggling to stay upright she shuffled down the hill, the leaves making a sh, sh, sh, sound as her sneakers moved through them. It took her a long time to realize that the pounding wasn’t in her head, it was above her. She looked up. Overhead was a helicopter and unaware, she’d entered a clearing. A shot of adrenaline swept through her. Elsa waved both arms, but a croak was all she could manage as a yell. The machine flew by.

They didn’t see me. She sank to the ground, the dry grass jabbing her in the legs and butt. The tiny stabs were the final insult. Elsa lay down on her side, too tired and thirsty to go on. The thump, thump, thump returned. She shaded her eyes. The helicopter was circling over the clearing. Someone waved out of the window.

Elsa waved back, then dropped her hand. It was too heavy to hold up. Soon a second chopper appeared overhead. This time a line was thrown out and a person in orange zipped down the line on the other side of the clearing.

Thank you, Elsa thought. Thank you.

 

The End

899 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Going Home

Suitcases on the Road by Connie Cockrell using Suitcases by Frost_Stock via www.DeviantArt.com Road picture by Randy Cockrell

Suitcases on the Road by Connie Cockrell using Suitcases by Frost_Stock via www.DeviantArt.com and Road picture by Randy Cockrell

Zara cleaned off the end of the shelf where the waitresses kept their personal stuff. Nothing extravagant— her coffee mug, a baggie with spare hair elastics and ties, and her purse. The mug and baggie went into the last. The two other girls sent sympathetic looks in her direction but in the middle of the lunch rush, they couldn’t stop to give a proper goodbye.

Fine by her. She slung the purse strap over her shoulder and made sure to slam the back door as she left. The owner, the nasty little man, had felt her up for the last time. Zara marched out of the alley like a soldier. Head up, shoulders back, eyes forward but her mind was roiling.

She didn’t know what to do. Rent was due in two weeks. Zara expected she’d have to fight to get her final paycheck and it would be short, being fired mid-pay period. She sighed as she stopped at the corner to wait for the light. Running to the big city wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Halfway down the block, hookers, no older than her, were talking to men in passing cars. At least I didn’t get caught up in that. The walk light glowed, and she crossed the street.

She pulled out her phone and called her sister. “Anna, it’s me,” she said when her sister picked up. “I was just fired.”

“Oh no, Zara. How awful.”

“Yep.” Zara stepped into a doorway to get out of the flow of pedestrians and to cut the street noise a little. “I don’t know how I’m going to make the rent, but at least I don’t have to put up with that grabby owner anymore.”

“Come stay with us.”

Zara shook her head. “I can’t do that. You have Bill and the kids to take care of. You don’t need me there.”

“Well, then, what about going home to mom and dad. I talked to mom. She said she’s asked you back over and over. Talk to her, talk to dad.”

“You know I haven’t talked to him since I left.” Zara watched the people going by, everyone with a look of determination on their faces. They knew what they were doing with their lives.

“It was a silly argument, Zara. Make up with him.”

“He told me if I didn’t like it to get out. So I did.” She wasn’t miffed about it anymore. Now it was more a matter of pride.

“You stayed out all night. He was trying to lay some ground rules for your own good.”

“How’d that work for him?”

“You and Dad are too much alike.”

Zara sighed. “Probably. Mom told me he’s still holding my college account open. He won’t touch the money, even when the whole roof had to be replaced.”

“See,” her sister said. “He still loves you. Come home. If you turn your apartment back to the owner clean, you’ll get your deposits back. That’ll give you the cash to find a new job or something.”

It was eighty-five today in Phoenix. It would be cold back in New York. She’d have to get winter clothes. “I’ve got nothing to wear. I left all my coats and stuff behind when I tossed my stuff in the car and left.”

“Mom still has it all,” Anna encouraged her. “Do you need me to buy a bus ticket for you?”

Zara chewed her bottom lip. What did she want to do? Go home? Go to college, at last? She realized she was ready to make up with her father. “No, I have some money set aside. I wanted to use it to buy the kids Christmas presents.”

“Forget that. You’re the best present they could get. Please come home, Zara.”

Zara felt her throat ache and tears form. She sniffed them back. “Then I guess I’m coming home. It’ll take me a couple of days to tie things up here. The car still works. I’ll drive.”

“Hoo, hoo!” Anna cheered. “You’ll be home in time for Thanksgiving. Fantastic. Are you going to call mom?”

“I’m going to call dad.” Zara wiped her eyes. “It’s time.”

 

The End

695 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Sharing November! A Monday Blog Post

Bookshelf

Bookshelf By Connie Cockrell

I love sharing what’s going on with my writing and my life.

November is an exciting month. As always it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo. I began yesterday with a nice word count of 2200 words, equally two chapters. I think I have a good start, now to keep it going. On Facebook, it’s thankfulness month. I and several other friends of mine post daily things we are thankful for. I suppose I should be mindfully aware everyday of what I’m thankful for but well, life happens. And I’m thankful for that too.

Special this month, the fair (Northern Gila County Fair), has asked me to go to the Arizona Fair Conference. That will be a first for me and it will suck up four days in the middle of November when I should be writing for NaNo! I think I can get writing in even while I’m gone. But more exciting is that this conference is where fairs can book carnivals and other acts and events for their fairs. I’m really looking forward to that.

I’m also teaching a workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. I have an entry for that on my Where Will I Be tab on my website. Also where will I be, I’ll be in Avondale November 14th to sell and sign my books. That’s also on the Where I Will Be tab. It’s a full month for me but I think I’m up to the task.

Thanksgiving will be spent at our friends house. Every year they invite friends over for a big pot-luck style feast. It’s always a lot of fun.

My garden needs to be cleaned for the winter but as you can see from above, I’m busy. However, if I can get out there and just do a little each day, I should be done before we get a hard frost or even snow.

Author Friend Boost! Jamie Raintree She has a web fiction story, The Stretch Mark Club. Here’s a description.

Three women, four babies, one week apart. Shea, married just a few months, is still learning about life as a wife when Zoe is born, and hopes that her husband didn’t marry her just because of the two pink lines. Riley’s ex-boyfriend disappeared as soon as he found out she was pregnant, leaving Riley to raise Alexis on her own. Jasmine, the mother of twins, Xavier and Andrea, has been married to Hector for years but despite his initial excitement to have a baby, he refuses to change a single diaper. Follow Shea, Riley and Jasmine as they navigate the world of new motherhood.

Want a free ereader copy of The Stretch Mark Club? Sign up to my newsletter and send me an email at author(at)jamieraintree(dot)com to request it.

She can be also found at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube.

Writing progress: The Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo is done and I wrote two chapters of it yesterday. There is no progress on Mystery in the Woods but if I finish Zoe Ohale early, I’ll pick this up to work on.

Marketing: In addition to my new Gumroads.com/conniecockrell site where you can buy my work directly from me, I’ve been considering adding a blog post a couple of times a month with author interviews. Would that be of interest to you?

Don’t forget Indie Books Direct at http://indiebooksdirect.com/. The site, free to readers, has a tab that lists all of the authors on the site. The reader just clicks on the author’s name and a link takes them directly to the author’s website or sale page. If you want to find authors in a particular genre, click on one of the several genre pages to find authors that have stories in that genre. It makes things so easy for readers! The site is still under construction but we’d love to have you come browse. Let us know how you like the site. Official grand opening is November 1st!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway started 1 November. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes as soon as I have them. Better yet, follow me on Facebook at conniesrandomthoughts, or Twitter at ConnieCockrell, and you’ll get the details even faster. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this.

Writing news. My story After Math, was rejected by Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine a few days ago. That’s the sixth rejection. I’ve sent it out to Asimov’s Science Fiction. We’ll see how long a reply takes. Cross your fingers for me, everyone.

Other writing news. I’ve been working on an on-line challenge on WritersDigest.com. It’s called the October Platform Challenge. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules. Robert Lee Brewer is the host of this challenge and I started it before I went on vacation. That set me back a long way on completing the daily work but I’ve been catching up. The nice thing is that it’s helping me check my social media platform and I’ve picked up a few things that I should be doing that I haven’t been. One thing is the interviews I mentioned above. Anyway, if you’re running a business, you might want to take this challenge yourself to help you build your social media platform. Robert gives you not only the how, but the why, for each step. I can’t say enough good words about this. It’s really helping me up my game on social media.

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my WordPress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I stopped posting to the WordPress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay.  You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords or Gumroads today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Last Monday in November

Thanksgiving Day, Mom, Turkey

My mom checking out the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Photo by Randy Cockrell

Are you wondering, as I am, where 2014 went? Zoom! It’s gone. Thanksgiving is upon us already. My hubby and I are going to a friend’s house for the big meal. We’re bringing coleslaw. In my family we called it Cabbage Salad and cabbage was grated on an old fashioned box grater along with a carrot and an onion. Miracle Whip was the dressing. Now, since I’m celiac, Miracle Whip is out of the question. But I still make a pretty mean ‘cabbage salad’ and it reminds me of my childhood. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

I’m definitely on tap to sign books at the Swiss Village Small Business Saturday Christmas kickoff.  http://conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com/where-will-i-be/. On Saturday the 29th, the biggest day of the three day event, I’ll have a tent set up to sell and sign my books. I have invites out to a few other authors, so I’m hoping there will be four of us there to say hi and sign books. The event starts at 10am and runs until after Santa leaves, probably 9pm. Hope to see you there.

I’m still doing well on my National Novel Writing Month challenge. I’ve passed the 40K  point and to be honest, I’m enjoying the story more and more. Estimated release date? Maybe March. I’ll see how the revisions and editing go.

My book, The Downtrodden, book two of the Brown Rain series is up on Smashwords and I’m working to get it up on Amazon. I’m having a bit of a cover snafu but it will be resolved soon. As usual, I’d love to have some reviews. Sign up for my newsletter and tell me you’d like to do a review and I’ll send you a free ebook. Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link.

I’ve been working on cleaning up my garden from the summer excesses. The compost bin has been cleaned out and two garden beds (I do raised bed gardens here in central Arizona) have been cleaned of dead or dying vegetation and readied for winter. We’ve had several frosts and even the Swiss Chard is lying limp and sad in the garden bed. The sage, however seems to be as healthy as ever. I’ll use fresh sage for as long as it lasts. Then I have an awesome supply of dried to get me through the winter.

I mentioned that I’m getting ready for my mom to come and live with me. I’ve ordered a new bed for her and curtains that have already arrived. We still need to clean the room, paint and put up the curtains and new furniture. We are going to have so much fun.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

The Downtrodden: a Brown Rain Story released November 22nd! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Flash Fiction Friday: Near Miss

Turkey by Randy Cockrell

Turkey by Randy Cockrell

Zalon and his wife, Willow, slaughtered the last turkey from their flock. As he cleaned the axe, Willow held the bird to the feather plucker. The rotating drum with flexible fingers pulled the feathers off quickly. He remembered the first time they used it. Willow had held the chicken too close and the machine pulled not only feathers, but skin and nearly pulled her hands into it.

Their son, Bai, was picking up feathers and stuffing them into a bag. Zalon planned on keeping some of them for his own projects but the rest would be sold. Several artists used the heritage breed turkey feathers for their art projects.

Willow dropped the plucked bird into a bucket of water to clean it. “Last one,” she said as she rinsed her hands. “I’ll keep this one for the feast.”

“How ya doin’, son?”

“Good, Daddy.” The boy held out his bag.

Zalon smiled. Bai had feathers in his hair and stuck to his clothing.

A big grin spread across his  five-year-old face. It was the first time he’d been allowed to help. “I’ve got lots of feathers.”

“Yes you do. Mommy and I are going to wrap and freeze these birds for this winter. You finish picking up the feathers.”

“OK, Daddy.”

Zalon watched Bai squat down to grab more feathers next to the plucking machine.

Willow pulled the turkey out of the bucket and patted it dry. “This one will feed a lot of people. I’m so looking forward to tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast. I haven’t seen my parents or your’s in a month.”

Zalon began wrapping the birds in plastic. “Me, too. It’ll be nice to just relax at a party for the afternoon.”

They finished wrapping the birds and began the process of carrying them into the house where the industrial-sized freezer was. It took several trips as they could only carry a couple of birds each at a time.

They were putting the last of the birds in the freezer when they heard a scream. Zalon was first out of the door and into the yard. There he saw Bai backed up against the plucking machine, a Bashnall, a green and gold lizard-looking creature found on Titan 3, was nosing around the bucket where Willow had been rinsing the turkeys.

Zalon whistled for King, his domestic wolf. “Get a gun, Willow.” He dashed toward the Bashnall. He wondered at a Bashnall so close by. The wolves had begun hunting the Bashnall four years ago. He hadn’t seen one this close to town in a long time. The Bashnall knocked over the bucket, water flowed across the ground. Not finding anything to eat there, the Bashnall turned to Bai, still holding the bag of feathers.

“Drop the bag,” Zalon called to his son.

The boy stood, white-faced and big eyed, staring at the approaching creature, the size of the family wolf. King raced around the corner of the barn and streaked for the Bashnall. Zalon reached the boy, pulled the sack from his hand and threw it at the lizard as he spun around to the rear of the machine, Bai in his arms.

King gave a low growl and launched at the lizard. The Bashnall screamed making Zalon’s blood run cold. The animals were in a tangle, dust and mud flew in the air as each one scrambled to kill the other. Zalon used their distraction to back away then circle around to the house. He met Willow halfway across the yard. He handed her the baby and took the gun. “Get inside,” he told her then moved toward the animals.

It was hard to get a shot. King was rolling over and over with the Bashnall, snarling as he tried to reach the creature’s throat. Zalon followed the pair as they rolled. He wanted to get a shot off before the lizard hurt the wolf. He had his chance when the two broke apart. King crouched for another attack as the Bashnall whirled around to face its attacker. Zalon fired his blaster, the beam passing closer to his wolf than he liked. Don’t move, boy, he thought. The beam hit the predator in the head. It stood for a second as King leapt. The wolf grabbed the creature by the throat and shook the animal. Ichor and gobs of lizard flew in every direction.

“Easy, boy.” Zalon approached the wolf. “You got him, boy. Let him go now.” The wolf gave the creature another shake then dropped it at Zalon’s feet. Zalon stroked the wolf’s head. “Good job, King. Good job.”

The wolf huffed then nosed the Bashnall. He pointed his nose at the sky and gave out a long howl. Zalon chuckled. “The same way I feel,” he told the wolf.

Willow came out, Bai in her arms. “That was close,” she said as she stared at the creature in the dirt.

“It was. I wonder why this one is so close to town?”

“I don’t know. But it’s dead now.” She kissed Bai on the forehead.

Zalon hugged them both. “Thankfully, King was here to help.”

Willow stroked the wolf’s head. “I think a bone will be in order for him tonight.”

 

The End

867 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday: What’s It All About

The Briefcase by ChaosBang via www.DeviantArt.com

The Briefcase by ChaosBang via www.DeviantArt.com

Carol juggled briefcase, purse, and paper cup of tea as she hurried through the convention center. She didn’t sleep well last night, a combination of strange bed, strange room and city street noise. The convention center was in the middle of the city. So of course, she fell asleep about 3AM.

She had to work her way through the crowds of people wandering between booths before their seminars started. Naturally, she thought. Three people were standing in front of her space when she arrived, all staring at the graphic on the back wall and looking around for help.

“Hi. Sorry I’m late.” She dumped her stuff on the chair in the corner and pulled open the cabinet sliding door. I don’t know why they give me a chair. I never get to sit in it. She pulled the candy dish of chocolate kisses out and with the other hand, the brochure stand and put them on the counter. “Thanks for stopping by.” She pasted on her brightest smile. “What can I do for you?”

Things slowed a little while the attendees were in class but that’s when the exhibitors went booth to booth. They checked out the competition and collected the freebies each booth had. Since she was alone at her company’s booth, she couldn’t walk around but occasionally a vendor rep would wander by or better yet, a company rep that was interested in buying her company’s product. She garnered four sales leads during the day.

After 5PM she put the candy and brochures away. It was time for the dinner and bar scene. She put extra business cards in her suit jacket pocket and headed for the hotel bar. She stopped in the restroom and freshened her makeup, brushed her hair and checked her teeth. I don’t know why I’m bothering, she thought. I haven’t had anything to eat since the free yogurt the venue provided since supper last night. I’m going to have to order an appetizer if the bar doesn’t set something out. Her stomach growled.

By 9PM she was exhausted and her feet felt like bloody stumps but she had eleven more leads. Carol slumped against the elevator wall on the ride to her floor. One more day, then I can go home. She massaged her temples, a hangover from the three glasses of pinot grigio was already forming. Drink more water tomorrow, she thought as she unlocked her room door.

After her shower she called home. “Hey, Honey.”

“Hi, Babe.” Rick’s voice sounded tired. “How ya doin’?”

“I got fifteen leads today. My feet feel like stumps. Otherwise I’m fine. Kids in bed I guess.”

“Yeah, they have half a day at school tomorrow then it’s Thanksgiving break.”

Carol sighed. I should have called them at five before I went to the bar. “That’s OK. I have a 4pm flight. I’ll be home about 10PM. Everything else OK?”

“Mandy and her best friend are fighting,” Rick told her. “And Nick scraped his knee when he wiped out on his skateboard this afternoon.

A wave of guilt swept over her. Mandy will be heartbroken. “Oh no, How’s Mandy doing?”

“She’s mad. I suspect you’ll get an earful at breakfast day after tomorrow.”

“That’s fine. We’ll talk it through. These things happen with ten year-old girls. And Nick?”

Rick laughed. “He has a big band aid on his knee. He can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and show it off.”

She sighed again. “Thank, Hon. I’ll be home tomorrow night. Kiss the kids for me.”

After he said good-night, she clicked off and sank back against the pillows. Hope I can sleep tonight. She turned out the light.

The next day she got to her booth on time but otherwise it was a repeat of the previous day. She confirmed eight of the leads from the night before and gathered six more by the end of the second day. That puts me ahead of the rest of the sales team for November, she thought as she packed the booth up. That pretty much makes me November’s lead sales rep. Nothing is going to happen between now and December unless someone gets very lucky.

On the taxi ride to the airport she stared out of the window at the grim industrial area they drove through. Looks like every other industrial area in any other city, she thought. Mystery warehouses, factories with pipes running all over and steam escaping. She took a deep breath. Carol was tired, tired physically and tired of the constant travel to cities she never really had a chance to see. She wondered why she was doing this.

It was closer to eleven at night than her estimated 10PM when she pulled onto her street. The leaves had fallen from the neighborhood trees in the three days she’d been gone.

Rick came out to the garage just as she opened the trunk. Carol rested her head against his chest and wrapped her arms around him. She inhaled his scent, warm and familiar, and immediately felt at home. He carried her suitcase into their bedroom while she checked on the kids. Nick was sprawled across his bed, blankets tangled around his little body. She pulled his extra blanket over him and kissed him on the forehead. In Mandy’s room Mandy whispered, “Mom?” as Carol kissed her head.

“Right here, Sweetie.”

“Becky isn’t my friend anymore.” He blue eyes looked up at her mother, full of sadness and betrayal.

“I heard. We’ll talk about it at breakfast, OK?”

The girl nodded and snuggled into her blankets. She was asleep again by the time Carol closed the door.

It’s good to be home, she thought as she stepped into her bedroom. I missed it. The deeper question of why she ever left would be considered another day.

 

 

The End

971 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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